CCW #15 Rise of the Chief Community Officer

Can community crack the 'C-Suite Ceiling'?

CCW is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community leaders.


Community Manager Hangout

In place of this week's QOTW, we're excited to announce our first Community Manager Video Hangout next Thursday, Jan 30th at 3pm EST. Reply for a calendar invite or join us on Slack for the dial-in link!

Join Community Chat on Slack


Cracking the C-Suite Ceiling

Ever heard of a Chief Community Officer? There's been a lot of recent chatter about the title and the elevated role that community is starting to play in most companies.

Erica Kuhl, former VP of Community at Salesforce captured the spirit surrounding this buzzing trend in her latest post. She dreams of a future where every company has a Chief Community Officer, and reflects on how far the community industry has come.

I have been in the community industry long before it was even called “community”. Back in the day community was referred to as a portal and it was very one-dimensional. It was an unknown entity with “soft” measurements and aligned more to Social Media rather than actual business value.

But the truth is that community is still siloed in many organizations.

It’s hard to measure, it doesn’t have the respect it should in most organizations, and it’s a struggle to find what part of the organization it aligns to.

Ambiguity over community measurement and organizational placement aside, 65% of companies do forecast that their organization will be increasing budget for community over the next 12 months (as told by CMX in their 2020 Community Industry Trends report).

And according to the Community Roundtable's annual report, 63% of all executives are supportive of advanced community initiatives.

https://s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/secure.notion-static.com/dd58f77c-7189-4b14-9406-6dc4c35e5796/Untitled.png?X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=ASIAT73L2G45OWNAQCWX%2F20200124%2Fus-west-2%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20200124T194227Z&X-Amz-Expires=86400&X-Amz-Security-Token=IQoJb3JpZ2luX2VjEMv%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2FwEaCXVzLXdlc3QtMiJGMEQCIFt9lNAsVKJyCgMuryXszw8F5Y1jvUavVePUo%2FX2zB2nAiBIcPEvPOe%2FgGPAe6sWyZtF%2FIcct7%2BOabSW503iimaBRyq0AwhkEAAaDDI3NDU2NzE0OTM3MCIMoPCf8uXMxtVK4O1VKpEDouQ1anytfO%2BwYXdA7laF3Foh1AWBXSvvjkyDoZy346pNCUH4zs0%2FOMj58Fg6951xOZj8VWLdCjhC0wavlg87TUyO9G0lK6vqEy2JuR9pGHhF5suaIfkJ%2B2rxbosOaX4BT%2FPtB9P%2FoVZ5R6Q66xSgWFlP%2B4zxBsuqdoKgkzplSEuJ2gtcAnkfVQhr3%2Fevd2xEwt3ybteKmnv%2FnEAIZuGYk8IL1fqxQkL0Dpw3QgjPGU%2FUqHAFy53CSivHPfbWkwMJ8Pl5ZJ0PPs%2BZFutFuEH8PBrQsAPUTtsO4IEM1MY9Bn6Ecp5vcIZWnDuAaAImot9wBNBqfBRkyozxM1xMQYgaNJdcIS%2F8wLhZdlwtihegh%2B5KwIl%2B%2B3O2LDnPo1qB3Aw4HL8aBFXRotg7OZwm%2BM3xI8RQ0p4OF0W2Ltnmq2RA%2Fo8bXagqL8B5gYMEMRYRwiSqGLVAm0vnRxIae5bSi10bh2CkEy4H2JnVaPLxcWzZLR6V6stuHmEZ%2BAbNjzmAnWTKw5R7Y9%2BlgsNJb8a6G4NFDfMwsYSt8QU67AH1skZ7ZIYslj3%2Bfarv8z585fI83fYY7wbmGxmsuVa5VKSbAq4meJkUVQemXsbw0inPrlKrf%2FUWGIgNJ2u4p8TTzEynIbl0q%2FphbgH8F8lI%2FZJvwyCVh2byUerfmTAibFuXY582m0NhmvTqfUccizXPvQezMuMKBzBvfh6z88x29bBDw%2FOp7gnxw4sJLYMq5SlEF6pUqMB09IH8NPC65wO78AkoHNz1w4LR2OYn3T5KlWVzOaKWFtyHPBDFZoeJfUIga69%2Bww45hnhPoCxIuDVlwNMlT3oGGLkXHpWcMD5x%2Bd3OhzFby95%2BFFvzYA%3D%3D&X-Amz-Signature=9b0add1c6b2b0ee79aff7caa985e6e39fb0aaab5f9f9c66420eeab14d454dbab&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&response-content-disposition=filename%20%3D%22Untitled.png%22
Source: The Community Roundtable 2019 State of Community Management

So what is the best place for community to live within an organization, assuming they have the right budget and executive sponsorship? Once again we can look to Erica Kuhl's prediction of the future:

The dream is that community and other key customer programs like advocacy, super user, reference, advisory boards, and the like all roll into one single organization. Most often they are fragmented into Marketing, Customer Success, Product, and Support. This causes confusion not only for the organization as a whole, but more importantly the customer.

Community will likely follow a similar pattern to other industries and departments – HR used to operate in a silo and now most major companies are hiring 'Chief People Officers,' and giving HR a serious seat at the executive table.

Data science is another great example. 10 years ago you would picture a lone, under-appreciated statistician hacking away at problems in a marketing department, now Chief Data Officers and Analytics Executives are architecting a new era of data driven businesses.

Technology is perhaps the most obvious example, moving out of the "IT department" into virtually every facet of businesses and skyrocketing the platform and importance of the CTO position.

Many companies will go through immense growing pains to find the best place for community in their organization, but The Community Chat Weekly Team thinks the future is bright for community managers nonetheless.

The solo community managers of today will be managing the community teams tomorrow, and current seasoned community management veterans will be the first candidates tapped to fill newly elevated Chief Community Officer roles. In 2020 and beyond, the right community-focused executives will be your organization's unfair advantage.

🐦 Tweets

This week in community Twitter world...

Is signaling on public social media becoming an audition for access to private groups? Investor Brent Beshore thinks so.

The CommChat Weekly Newsletter is happy to be a part of Greg's 2020 trend.

Your core group of initial members can set the tone for the remainder of your community's existence.

The dirty little secret of customer support communities.

Don't have a community yet? Spin up a Slack.


📝 Blog Posts

A handful of recommended readings from the past week.

Customer Network is the Next Thing That Every Startup Must Master (4 min read)

2019 was the year when VCs and startup founders soured on paid acquisition. Is 2020 the year of inbound acquisition via community?

Building a Community is Smart Business (3 min read)

A recap of Erica Kuhl's talk at the 2019 CMX Summit. She dives into what business metrics her team measured when she was VP of Community at Salesforce, including how community affected the sales pipeline, average customer deal size, customer attrition rates, and support dollars saved.

Community Purpose Matters More than Community Platform (2 min read)

If you depend on the platform alone to power your community to success, you’re missing the key points to it's existence. Before you ask about a community platform's features and integrations, your first question should be "how do we make the community useful?"


💬 Join the Community!

Did you know that Community Chat is more than just a newsletter? We’re also a community on Slack, where community leaders and builders connect with each other and share tips and tricks.

Join Community Chat on Slack

Have a suggestion for a piece of content we should include next week? Email us and let us know!